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Wear It! New York

Everyone can be a safer boater by following three simple suggestions:

New York offers an abundance of scenic waterways, offering outstanding recreational opportunities for boating enthusiasts. The Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, and Lakes Ontario and Erie beckon to those wishing to cruise offshore. The boater who seeks a more tranquil setting can head toward the Finger Lakes, with the scenic beauty of surrounding hills and many vineyards. They can also travel to one of the many Adirondack lakes set against the dramatic rise of the high peaks. For the sports enthusiast, New York offers pristine lakes and streams for fishing, or whitewater adventure on any of several rivers. And finally, for the historian and tourist, there are the Hudson River and State Barge Canal System, connecting New York not only to points north and west, but to our maritime heritage as well.

With the availability and diversity of all this water, boating's popularity throughout the state is easy to understand. New York ranks among the leaders nationally in the number of registered vessels, nearly a half million and counting, with many more non-mechanically propelled boats that do not require registration. As the number of boats continues to grow, new and diverse boat types are introduced, attracting more and more people to the sport.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has been given the responsibility of providing the public with a safe, enjoyable environment for recreational boating. The ultimate goal is to assist the boater in developing safe boating habits. Education and enforcement are the tools that will help achieve that goal. OPRHP was a national pioneer in developing an education program for youthful boaters, and in 2009 we are celebrating 50 years of teaching safe boating. The education program began targeting operators of personal watercraft, as well as youth, and now some 20,000 boaters complete the New York Safe Boating Program each year. OPRHP encourages all adult boaters to take a safe boating course, whether they ride a personal watercraft or not. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron also conduct excellent programs for both youths and adults. Either of their certificates is acceptable in lieu of the state certificate.

A strong law enforcement presence on our waters is also crucial to the safe boating effort. The marine patrol officer serves many functions. Through the enforcement of the Navigation Law, marine patrols can remove the dangerous boater from the water. They are also quite often the first respondents to a boater in trouble. Marine patrols serve as visual reminders to the boating public that they have a responsibility toward the safety of other boaters, as well as toward themselves. Many of these patrols consider educating boaters as much a part of the job as writing tickets; they often teach safety courses for youth, distribute safety information at boat shows and county fairs, and provide on-the-spot information to the waterborne boater who is unaware of proper safe boating practices.

Please visit the State parks newsroom for boating safety news.

New York Safe Boating - Celebrating 50 Years
  • For more information, please contact:
  • Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
  • Bureau of Marine Services
  • Albany, NY 12238
  • 518/474-0445
  • 518/408-1030 (fax)
  © 2014 New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. All rights reserved.